Gaming Cafés

With the people, if someone wants to play a video games, you buy an expensive computer or a console.  If you want to play with your friends you either hook it up to the internet or you struggle to get the damn thing over to your friends house and hook them all up to the local modem.  It’s not easy.  Only recently did I hear about the notion of gaming cafés.  They’re like internet cafés but come with popular games installed so that everyone in the café can play together.

It’s a nifty idea that no one ever seems to have thought of here.  After looking a couple of them up I realised I had walked past a couple before but never really thought about it, disregarding them as the boring internet versions.  Even still, they always seem to be empty.  The only time I’ve ever seen more than two people in one of these cafés is in my briefs forays into chinatown, but I didn’t really notice what they were playing.  The notion of having to leave home and go somewhere I’m not socially comfortable with is totally foreign to me.

The idea could be kind of cool though.  Personally I like to play Magic: The Gathering.  For the uninitiated it’s like playing the grown up version of Pokemon cards.  For the initiated I’m sorry but that’s the fastest way to make people unfamiliar understand what’s going on without a lengthy explanation.  You can’t play a paper card game online so I have gone to events to play with people I don’t know and made new friends.  I guess it’s the same with the gaming cafés, going somewhere to both enjoy your hobby and play with like-minded people.

The more I think about this the more I wish that I was old enough to remember the game arcades of yesteryear, here people were almost forced together to play together, to compete together, to share a hobby.  Which was something I never had.  For me, games were never that social an aspect of my life until recently, which I think is a product of me living in Australia where physical sports are much more popular and sports personalities can become celebrities.

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7 comments

  1. I know that the uni has that gaming area..but I never knew it was actually a thing to have ‘gaming cafes’ how genius.. but in saying that, I do agree that its not generally something people would find too comfortable. Issue: why go to a cafe and pay when I already have the console at home? unlike magic and other tabletop games where people generally gather in large groups to play the trusty console game just has different cultural and social aspects behind it. I think it would be interesting for you to explore these further, maybe compare it to the asian setting – are gaming cafe’s more common over there? I have read in a previous post that the gaming concept is seen as more social in Asia, so that could be a good place to start.

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  2. Gaming cafes are a brilliant idea, they provide a social environment for gamers to interact , somewhat like the Arcades in the past. I used to frequent a local internet/gaming cafe and pay something like $12 for an all nighter, which consisted of an 8pm-9am gaming, eating and sometimes the sneaky drink extravaganza with a bunch of people some of which I knew and some I didn’t but it was good fun and provided a higher level of interaction than sitting at home gaming. I made some good friends there and still game with some of them.

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  3. I am fairly well versed in the ways of Internet Gaming Cafes. I frequent one in Chinatown in Sydney called WangYu, and I feel like there is a difference in the way that the space is used by different people. Commonly, you are unlikely to find Asian players alone in the space. Commonly found in groups all playing the same game, usually a MOBA, and usually together. Sometimes they just all play in close proximity. The only time you ever see groups of other people is when they are particularly playing together, being very vocal and working together. It’s not a hangout, but rather a place to go only when you are trying your hardest.

    I am treading very heavily on stereotypes here but as a regular, I often wish I could join in with the Asian groups, as they just seem to have so much more fun. Even now I am itching to go there and play once I’ve finished work because I love watching the way people use the space, let alone using the space myself.

    However as a peripheral to playing online games, these cafes serve a very important purpose as culture hubs. I notice that on the same street as the café all the shops stay open later than normal. All the other streets in the area close down, and there are groups of people hanging out at the nearby 7/11 all through the night simply because there is such a nodal place nearby.

    It’s culture in action and I love it.

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  4. While I do like the idea of gaming cafes, its the people in them I don’t tend to like. If you don’t play the cafes’ game of choice it can always lead to conflict with the gamers.Also with the way games are going digital now with Steam being the main source of my video games, I don’t happen to like the idea of going to these cafes and then finding out I have to log into steam and download my profile to play with the other people in the place. If they don’t let me do that then why would I want to play on a profile that isn’t my gamer profile? Anyway I feel gaming cafes are a thing of the past now, everyone who wants to play games have a computer quite capable of playing them on and would just rather use the internet to connect.

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  6. I’d heard of gaming cafes before and came across a few of them in my travels through Malaysia, though I never ventured inside to see what they were all about. Kuala Lumpur is a city that comes alive at night, and I remember noticing that gaming cafes in shopping centres and urban hubs would slowly become busier once the sun went down. I imagined that much like my friends and I visit the cinema, some students would visit gaming cafes to hang out and have a good time. I know there are a few in Sydney, perhaps closer to where there is a larger concentration of Asian people. It would be interesting to further understand the culture that surrounds these cafes!

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